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Brazil-Argentina World Cup qualifier halted over alleged COVID violations

Sep 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A detailed view of an Adidas official FIFA game ball in the second half of a match between the LAFC and Sporting KC at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 3, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; A detailed view of an Adidas official FIFA game ball in the second half of a match between the LAFC and Sporting KC at Banc of California Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Brazilian medical officials walked onto the field of play at a World Cup qualifying match between Brazil and Argentina on Sunday in Sao Paulo, accusing three Argentinian players of falsifying their COVID-19 information and threatening to deport them.

The head referee suspended the Brazil-Argentina match roughly seven minutes after they began to play. It did not resume.

“The referee and the match official will take a report to the FIFA Disciplinary Committee and they will decide what steps to take,” read a statement from CONMEBOL, South America’s soccer governing body.

At issue were three starters for Argentina — Emiliano Martinez, Giovani Lo Celso and Cristian Romero — who play for English clubs and allegedly failed to reveal to Brazilian authorities that they’d recently been in England. They were supposed to quarantine upon arrival in the country, per Brazil’s COVID-19 laws.

A fourth player, Emiliano Buendia, also reportedly arrived via England but was not part of Argentina’s gameday squad.

Argentina’s side responded to the chaos by walking off the pitch.

–Field Level Media